Ukraine has moved to block access to top Russian social media sites and search-and-email portals, adding them to a list of companies and individuals sanctioned over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in the east of the country.
President Petro Poroshenko’s measures targeting VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Mail.ru and Yandex come one day after warning on television of a “cyber war”.
It was not immediately clear how Kiev’s controversial move would be accepted domestically. Millions of Ukrainians reportedly use the popular Russian social media and portal sites. Ukraine’s move appeared to be aimed at specifically targeting cyber security risks stemming from Russia. It deepens previously introduced sweeping sanctions affecting 1,228 individuals and 468 entities. Subsidiaries of Russian banks in Ukraine were sanctioned this year. Ukraine had previously banned Russian television channels from broadcasting domestically but Tuesday’s presidential decree appears to expand this initiative to other media and means of broadcasting. Ties between the once brotherly Slavic neighbors have deteriorated in recent years. After Ukraine sanctioned airlines from its northern neighbour, the move was reciprocated by Moscow leading to a complete halt of bilateral flights. Ukraine’s sanctions also target individuals who have visited the Russian occupied Crimean Peninsula without Kiev’s permission, including foreigners and some European politicians.
Source: Ukraine to block Russia’s top social media sites and internet portals